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Pro Football Hall of Famer Joins Stockton Students for No One Eats Alone Day

STOCKTON -- Friday was National No One Eats Alone Day and Hamilton Elementary School in Stockton was one of more than 2,000 schools nation-wide that took part in a positive prevention initiative.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz stopped by the school to speak with kids about the issues surrounding social isolation.

Many consider Munoz the best offensive tackle in professional football. He has been protecting quarterbacks for 13 NFL seasons all with the Cincinnati Bengals. It helped him earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 1998.

He's also used to standing up and for a good cause.

"So, we know it's big," Munoz said. "Like I said, I know that it's not only in suburban schools or urban schools, but it's in the private and public schools. So it's something we have to address and be aware of and try to educate."

Social isolation has been identified as a precursor to bullying, self-harm and community violence. Yet, given the appropriate tools, students have shown they will stand up for others as caring activists, rather than passive bystanders.

"It's so much more important than how fast, how strong, how good of a blocker you are, how many times you can carry the football and score touchdowns. All that's icing on the cake," Munoz said. "We need to start with the foundation and really attack the problems."

"I'm always talking about how we are in this together and it's important for us to advocate and care for each other, even if it doesn't directly affect us," Tubbs said.

Mayor Tubbs attended Hamilton Elementary and was not only proud of the message delivered Friday but how students got on board to help stomp out the problem.

"Everybody is equal. Because some kids they treat differently because the way they look, the way they smell, or just the way they act," said Hamilton Elementary student Destiny Cathey. "And maybe now they will go sit with them or talk with them."

And there may be no better ambassador than Munoz to spread the word.

Munoz began reaching out to help communities during his college days at the University of Southern California. Now, at age 59, he's not ready to retire from making a difference.

"Because the bigger the team, the bigger the impact," Munoz said. "That's what is going on here with Health Net, and getting the Hall of Fame involved and coming to a school like Hamilton. So, I'll keep doing it as long as I can keep going."